The one solace, if it can be called that, of Deshaun Watson receiving a monster contract from the Cleveland Browns is the strong possibility he could be suspended by the NFL due to any of the 22 open accusations of assault against him.
Even if that does happen, though, Watson won’t feel the pain to his pocketbook.
Due to the way Watson’s five-year, $230 million deal is structured, any salary he would lose as a result of suspension during the 2022 season would be minimal, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“What is also reprehensible is the fact that Watson’s signing bonus is a reported $45 million, while his first-year salary is a relatively puny $1.035 million, which becomes significant if he gets suspended, as is widely expected,” King wrote Monday in his Football Morning In America column. “The suspension and resulting fine would come out of his salary only. Say the NFL bans him for six games. The fine would be $345,000, which is seven-tenths of 1 percent of his 2022 compensation.
“It’s hard to be more outraged about this story, but that last paragraph makes me want to spit nails.”
Watson’s signing has understandably upset a lot of fans, many of them right there in Cuyahoga County. So it probably won’t make anybody feel better to know the Browns appear to have specifically set up Watson’s deal to protect him against the possibility — perhaps even the likelihood — he could get suspended.
Although the criminal charges were cleared, the civil cases remain open, preserving the possibility Watson could be held accountable for the alleged actions. Whatever those outcomes, however, it’s clear the Browns did everything they could to ensure he almost literally won’t have to pay.